Extreme poverty set to rise from pandemic
Most of the “new destitute” will be in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The World Bank predicts that COVID-19 will increase the ranks of the extremely poor – those living on less than $1.90 a day – by up to 150 million people, reports The Economist.
From 1990 until 2019, the number of extreme poor fell from 36 per cent of the world’s population to 8 per cent. Now, numbers are increasing for the first time since 1998.
The UN says 240 to 490 million people in 70 countries will be pushed into “multidimensional poverty”, a measure that includes lacking basic shelter or having children go hungry.
The UN World Food Programme predicted that acute hunger would have doubled by the end of 2020, with an additional 130 million people not having enough to eat.
The pandemic’s disruption of health care means more mothers will die in childbirth, and more people will die from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and preventable diseases such as malaria, in 2021.
Inequality throughout the world is also set to rise.
Economic analysis of pandemics over the past century suggests that they lead to sharp rises in inequality. History shows that employment among the well educated barely changes, but among those with low levels of education employment typically declines by 5 per cent.
“This time will be no different,” said The Economist.
‘The UN says 240 to 490 million people in 70 countries will be pushed into “multidimensional poverty”.’